The Detroit Lions honored unveiled at new statue outside of Ford Field Stadium, Saturday evening. The special unveiling was in honor of former player Barry Sander, drafted third overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft. It would be the first time the Detroit football organization would such a recognition and statue for anyone in its history decades long history.
Sanders played 10 seasons for the team and during a time Lions fans would flock to the team’s previous home in Pontiac at the Silver Dome.
Out the gate, Sanders became the league’s Offensive Rookie of the Year in 1989 and NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 1997. He would go on to run for 15,269 yards and 99 touchdowns for the Lions.
The festive statue unveiling at the corner of Brush and St. Antoine, brought Lions fans, former players and dignitaries together.
A video wall gave tribute to the living football legend. As comments by friends and professionals in the league were showcased with images and sound of glorious memories for sports fans and players on the field, an announcer speaks in the background on it having “been so long since the fan base had been excited, Barry Sanders had given them a shot in the arm.”
Some of the attendees from the packed attendance included former Lions coach Wayne Founts, former Lions player and current radio color analyst Lomas Brown, and former Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The honor had been a long time coming for a player who exceeded expectations week after week on the field and was a mentor and role model to the community and fan base who rocked the jerseys that bare his name.
Sanders was joined by Detroit Lions leadership as they stood aside him and the covered statue before Dan Miller, the event host and radio voice of the team, rendered a collective countdown.
And then, the moment everyone had waited for, the cloth draped eight-foot across the towering the statue was let down, showing Sanders famed with one foot on the ground and another in the air, a seemingly dash and run posed, with one arm with hands out, while the other arm is folded with a football in hand.